In 2023 we were pleased to hear from past client Betty O’Shaughnessy Woolls, with whom we had worked on O’Shaughnessy Winery in Angwin, and her Oakville residence. In 2016, Betty and husband Paul Woolls created Progeny Winery in the Mt. Veeder area of Napa Valley, overlooking the beautiful rolling hills of their 32-acre Woolls Ranch Vineyard with views of Mt Veeder to the West. Betty and Paul requested a very low water use landscape that still felt full and complete, and resonated with the existing buildings and with Progeny’s premium tasting experience. We were already fans of the beautiful site, and the clean, contemporary concrete, steel and glass architecture of the winery buildings by Juancarlos Fernandez of Signum Architecture.
The level pad for the winery, hospitality and office buildings had been created by topping a small knoll. This created the needed space for the buildings and hardscape to flow all on one level, but left challenging soil conditions for the plantings. The original landscape further suffered from a lack of available water during some of the critical establishment years, with only the specimen Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) trees surviving. To give the revised landscape every chance of thriving, we worked with Frank+Grossman Landscape Contractors to design improved drainage for the oak trees, soil test based amendments, and a new, targeted drip irrigation system.
For the primary landscape area viewed from both the hospitality areas and the offices, Principal Designer Nancy Roche used a strong, simple, structural plant palette, underplanting the Coast Live Oaks with drifts of White Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia c. ‘White Cloud’), native perennial White Yarrow (Achillea m. ‘Sonoma Coast’), and Kleinia (Senecio mandraliscae) succulents. At the visitor arrival point, deep green native Coffeeberry (Frangula c. ‘Leatherleaf’) shrubs soften the end of the winery building. Along the gently sloping entry walk, a gravel garden features Century Plant (Agave americana) and Blue Fingers (Senecio cylindricus), casting their architectural shadows against the concrete building wall.
The resulting landscape provides a quiet foreground to the vineyard views with year-round appeal, complements the subtle natural color palette of the architecture, and does so with reduced maintenance and a fraction of the annual water requirement.
Architecture: Signum Architecture
Construction: Grassi & Associates
Landscape Installation: Frank & Grossman
Photography: Eileen Roche Photography